Test driving Amazon's MP3 store

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So now that Warner Music is on Amazon, I thought it might be a good idea to give their download service a whirl. I’m a Mac man, so these screenshots are all OS X. However, the process should be the same for Windows.

I was initially impressed by the price of each song. Most of them were 89 cents — a clear dig at iTunes — and they had a fairly good selection. I didn’t search for anything obscure, however, so I don’t know the depth of their collection.

To begin, simply pick your song. It then sends you to an AMZ file, which appears to disappear immediately after you download the actual MP3. The AMZ file is completely encrypted and/or compressed. If I’m any judge of character, I suspect this AMZ is keyed to my Amazon account.

As you see there, there are no readable strings in the AMZ file.
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The system asks you to download the Amazon downloader, a small application that simply reads AMZ files and downloads the music. I installed it and and it downloaded quickly and without issue. Reveal in finder and there’s your music, waiting quietly.
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Incidentally, if you need to download your music again, it does so without fuss. You own the MP3, it seems, so you can download it as often as you like.
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I then did a little snooping. I ran strings on the MP3 file and found some MP3 info and the Amazon ID (20223554). This has nothing to do with the ASIN (B000U8002U) shown on Amazon. Out of curiosity, I searched for my identifying info and found nothing.

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The store is quite easy to use. It doesn’t work directly with iTunes, however, so you have to drag your music over. The songs I downloaded were recorded at 44.100 kHZ with bit rate of 266 kbps, variable. It encoded with LAME and the Song ID was encoded in the info as well along with the artwork. I’m glad to say Amazon got this MP3 store experience just right — maybe an MP3 player should be next?
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The app disk image

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